Three hundred U.S. troops now stand on the northern Jordan border adjacent to Syria, The Times of London reports. The deployment will reportedly remain there for months under the guise of a training exercise.
The White House said Friday it does not plan to send U.S. troops into Syria, despite offering aid to rebel groups fighting President Bashar al-Assad.
“Nobody has asked us to [go into Syria]. The Syrian opposition does not think that it’s a good idea,” Ben Rhodes, current Deputy National Security Adviser for Strategic Communication, said during a White House press conference Thursday evening. ”We certainly don’t think it’s in our national interest to send U.S. troops.”
The White House distinguished their actions in the Middle East from those of the previous administration’s, expressing a reluctance to enter a scenario similar to the 2003 Iraq War.
On Friday Rasmussen Reports released a poll finding that nearly 60 percent of Americans think the government will use data illegally collected by the NSA to go after political opponents. It also found that there “is little public support for the sweeping and unaccountable nature of the National Security Agency surveillance program along with concerns about how the data will be used.”
Terry Atlas & John Walcott Bloomberg
June 15, 2013
President Barack Obama’s decision to send some light weapons to Syrian rebels may be too little and too late to thwart a regime offensive to retake Aleppo, the nation’s largest city and commercial capital.
Regime forces supported by fighters from the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shiite group Hezbollah have moved north after defeating rebels in al-Qusair, a setback that triggered concern in Washington that Iran and its Lebanese ally are tipping the balance in favor of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.
“Arming the Syrian rebels is unlikely to tip the balance in their favor,” said Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Institution’s Doha Center. “It might have made a difference a year ago, but, today, the Assad regime — particularly after re-taking Qusair — has the advantage.”
Even some U.S. officials are worried that Obama’s reluctant decision to provide limited amounts of small arms and ammunition to the Syrian opposition is enough to drag the U.S. into a third Mideast war but not enough to win it.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano weighed in on the NSA intelligence leaks on Friday, telling NY1 that fears over government surveillance were overblown.
“I think people have gotten the idea that there’s an Orwellian state out there that somehow we’re operating in. That’s far from the case,” she told Errol Louis during an appearance onRoad to City Hall.